Previous Article Next Article
  • Like the quirky characters in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing galaxies across time and space. One stunning example is galaxy cluster Abell 370, which contains a vast assortment of several 
hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. That's a lot of galaxies to be guarding, and just in this one cluster! Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light with the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 in Sept. 2009 to Feb. 2015, the immense cluster is a rich mix of galaxy shapes. Entangled among the galaxies are mysterious-looking arcs of blue light. These are actually distorted images of remote galaxies behind the cluster. These far-flung galaxies are too faint for Hubble to see directly. Instead, the gravity of the cluster acts as a huge lens in space, magnifying and stretching images of background galaxies like a funhouse mirror. Abell 370 is located 
approximately 4 billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It is the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the recently concluded Frontier Fields project -- an ambitious, community-developed collaboration 
among NASA's Great Observatories and other telescopes that harnessed the power of massive galaxy clusters and probed the earliest stages of galaxy development.
    NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)
    Like the quirky characters in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing galaxies across time and space. One stunning example is galaxy cluster Abell 370, which contains a vast assortment of several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. That's a lot of galaxies to be guarding, and just in this one cluster! Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light with the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 in Sept. 2009 to Feb. 2015, the immense cluster is a rich mix of galaxy shapes. Entangled among the galaxies are mysterious-looking arcs of blue light. These are actually distorted images of remote galaxies behind the cluster. These far-flung galaxies are too faint for Hubble to see directly. Instead, the gravity of the cluster acts as a huge lens in space, magnifying and stretching images of background galaxies like a funhouse mirror. Abell 370 is located approximately 4 billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It is the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the recently concluded Frontier Fields project -- an ambitious, community-developed collaboration among NASA's Great Observatories and other telescopes that harnessed the power of massive galaxy clusters and probed the earliest stages of galaxy development.
  • This is a Hubble Space Telescope view of a random patch of sky that reveals how the universe looks at large: a
    NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)
    This is a Hubble Space Telescope view of a random patch of sky that reveals how the universe looks at large: a "wallpaper" of innumerable galaxies spread across space and time. They offer a wide assortment of majestic star cities that vary in age, shape, and stellar populations. It's a narrow view down a corridor that stretches back in time for billions of years. The wide range of rich colors comes from the fact that this snapshot is assembled from images taken in visible light as well as near-infrared light. The reddest objects in the image are presumably the farthest galaxies, whose light has been stretched into the red part of the spectrum by the expansion of space. The yellow objects are massive football-shaped elliptical galaxies that contain older stellar populations. The blue galaxies are disk-shaped pinwheels of ongoing star formation. The entire field is peppered with much smaller, fragmentary, blue galaxies -- the "building blocks" ancestors of majestic spiral galaxies like our Milky Way. This so-called "parallel field" was taken while Hubble was looking at the primary target, a massive foreground galaxy cluster, while another camera simultaneously viewed the adjacent, seemingly sparse patch of sky. Such parallel fields increase the efficiency of Hubble for deep sky surveys, and yield new insights into the evolution of galaxies over billions of years.




Chat now!